View Full Version : Interesting Observation & Unrelated Ramblings

19th December 2006, 04:16 PM
Those of you who have more than one dog know what I mean when I say seeing their different personalities comes at some very interesting moments.

Today, I've given Willow and Cedar rawhide "bones". They dont get them often. When we first gave them, Cedar was extremely posessive. She didnt chew it; she just held it and growled whenever anyone came near. So obviously we have been working on her behavior. They only get them now when I'm supervising closely and no one else is around. Cedar was so possessive I think she might have bitten someone who wasnt aware of the danger. (She has never been food possessive before; this behavior is only displayed with these hawhide bones.)

Anyway, she's doing much better, but to help the girls learn that these are chew toys, I had to stuff the cracks with Pupperoni, one of their favorite junk foods.

Both girls could smell the pupperoni, of course ,and their interest in their chews were heightened. Cedar just started chewing away like most dogs. Willow, though, was singularly interested in the bits of pupperoni. She flipped and flopped the bone, licked the cracks, and did everything she could to just get the pupperoni. Chewing the bone itself wasn't a strategy. She even came over to Cedar to see if she would help (this is a strategy that Willow does a lot; its like a little kid going to an older sibling for help with stuff!). Of course, Cedar was busy with her own bone, so Willow has gone back to her rawhide and is licking away like nuts trying to get the pupperoni. Who knows, perhaps she'll figure it out yet. :roll:

As an aside, this possessive behavior reminds me of an episode of Animal Cops I saw last night. The ACOs had rescued a shepherd mix, and it was a lovely dog. The behaviorist at the shelter bonded with it very closely, and it was clear that the dog had bonded with her, too. It even rolled over on its back while she, another employee, rubbed its belly, while the camera crew were standing nearby in a small room. However, during the behavior test, the dog showed food agression. Because of this one problem, they put the dog down. The behaviorist was so distraught she had to leave the room in tears. When she returned, she and the other employee explained that this behavior made it unadoptable and too dangerous to take into someone's home, even the behaviorist's.

I was gobsmacked that ONE behaviorial issue meant that they wouldnt even try to find a home for it. It is a serious problem for sure, but it isnt unsurmountable with the right owner. I know these shelters have limited resources and there arent many knowledgeable owners who could deal with the issue probably willing to take in a new mix rescue. Nevertheless, it is exceptionally upsetting that the dog, with so many positive attributes, was killed simply because no one wanted/would take the time, to work with this problem. :(

I'm rambling... can you tell I'm on vacation now?? :P

Cathy T
19th December 2006, 04:21 PM
Ahhhh...vacation ramblings!!

Shelby is exactly like that with bully sticks...which is why I don't give them anymore. She'll carry it around and growl at Jake if he so much as looks over her way. It's funny because she's not like this with anything else. This will put her into a red hot zone for sure. She's mildly posessive with other chews but nothing like the bully sticks. The good thing is that she's only like this with Jake not with me. I can put my hand in her mouth and take it away without a problem.

19th December 2006, 04:32 PM
Cedar growls at Willow, too, if she comes near. So we've been working on it. I'll take the bone away from cedar, and give it to Willow while Cedar watches. Then, I give it back to Cedar. After a while of this and no negative response from Cedar, I give the drop command, and cedar drops the chew (we had to work up to this, too!) and then I let Willow come over and sniff, lick, etc. on the chew. Cedar has to sit and let Willow examine it. Willow, as I said before, isnt all that interested in the bone--she just wants the pupperoni--so she loses interest pretty quick in Cedar's bone. Then I tell Cedar she can have it back.

It's a process, for sure, but I think it is definitely worth the effort if Cedar learns to accept she can't rule the world. When she first got these bones, She literally growled at me when I went to take it away. She even refused to let go when I tried to take it! Little So-and-So! She'll give it to me now and even will drop it on command, but we still have to work with letting submissive Willow be around without growling.

As I typed this, Cedar is trying to get me to hold her bone for her while she chews. Can you believe it? :roll:

19th December 2006, 04:39 PM
I'm really glad you posted this info because it will help alot of people who may have the same issue. It also lets me know what I may be in store for if/when I get a second Cav.

As I typed this, Cedar is trying to get me to hold her bone for her while she chews. Can you believe it? Chester does this too sometimes and I think it's hilarious. Lazy...but hilarious.

19th December 2006, 11:46 PM
Food aggression is a huge spectrum as a problem and is almost always pretty EASY to train away from. What a ridiculous reason to put a dog down. Any behaviouralist could give a clear set of lessons to work on, and some good obedience classes would help improve overall control anyway. I've homed a couple of dogs with food aggression and Tara or Lisa always give some training tips and that is it. All improved very quickly; plus rescue dogs often guard initially anyway and then stop as the relax and learn they don;t have to protect a scarce resource. Generally dogs can justbe fed in crates to minimise problems, Unless that dog was attacking people over food I cannot imagine taking such a harsh approach to a training issue. :(

20th December 2006, 12:54 AM
max went through a terrible stage of possession with his bones when he was about 8 months old. i can put my hand in his dish while he is eating, take toys from him, and even take things he shouldn't have right out of his mouth without a problem... but if i would give him a bone (or any kind of chew that lasted for 10 minutes or more) he was like another dog. if he had his bone and i would so much as go to touch him he would tense up and let out a mean growl. he even snapped at my boyfriend twice when he went to take a bone from him... showed his teeth and all.

needless to say i stopped giving him bones for quite a while. after a month or so i started to re-introduce them to him and we worked on our "leave it" command . he seemed to outgrow the problem, but i still put all of his bones and chews out of his reach when my boyfriends young niece and nephew come to our house. i dont think max would do anything now, but since i have seen him snap with my own eyes, he can't be trusted 100%.